Affiliate Marketing Overview
In this post, I’m going to cover affiliate marketing for beginners broadly. So if you’re wondering where are the most profitable affiliate niches or what are the best affiliate products to promote, or even, what’s the best platform to use to get sales and customers, then this post is one you definitely want to read.
Perhaps affiliate marketing has caught your attention lately. You’ve been asking yourself — what are the most profitable niches, what are the best affiliate products to promote, and what is the best platform to choose? There is so much to consider.
And if you’re smart, not only are you going to do your research and take notes, but you’re also going to take action once you’ve read this post. If you were to read up on all things affiliate marketing and get excited about the possibilities out there but not take action afterward — you are doing yourself a major disservice. That is by far THE biggest mistake that anyone can make who is considering earning an income online. Sure, it’s exciting to learn and plan your next ventures — but the learning needs to be actually applied. You must understand that your persistence will eventually pay off. It’s no accident that ‘shiny object syndrome’ has become a term commonly applied to would-be online marketers. Focus is everything in this game.
Why Affiliate Marketing?
As I mentioned in a previous post, I no longer wish to rely on my employer or the government for my retirement fund. Have you read the news lately? There is so much disruption to the economy, governments, and age-old systems that we have relied upon. Even the monetary system is evolving. Change is afoot, and I don’t want to leave my economic future up for grabs. That is what led me to the world of earning income online. I hope to motivate and educate you, too, and I hope you do take action from what you learn in this post.
So the first thing I want to address is – what is affiliate marketing? In a nutshell, it is promoting others’ (or sometimes even your own) products to the public via an online forum. This could be on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, your own website, and even on Pinterest.
For example — there is the Amazon Associates affiliate program. It’s actually one of the oldest affiliate programs, having been implemented in 1996. Essentially, it allows you to link anything from Amazon’s Marketplace as an affiliate link, and you can post this link on your website or YouTube, for instance. If people click your link and buy anything from Amazon within 24 hours, you get a commission. And the commission depends on the category of the product. It ranges from as little as zero or 1% up to 10% at the max. But don’t despair — there are much better affiliate programs out there! You should know that all the world’s biggest companies have an affiliate program to achieve influence, reach, and ultimately more customers and, therefore, sales. There are also unique marketplaces with loads of affiliate offers from which to choose. More about that later.
Affiliate Marketing is Everywhere
If you were to type a company’s name into a browser search bar with ‘affiliate’ afterward, you would find those affiliate programs. You see –affiliate marketing is just referrals. You’re just recommending products and services that you may already love and use to other people, whether It’s people on the internet, whether it’s your friends, family, colleagues — and you get paid a commission. Again, the commission ranges from one to 10% for Amazon Associates, but I’m going to refer to sites where commissions can easily exceed that.
Pretty exciting. Now that’s affiliate marketing.
Things to Love About Affiliate Marketing
Now, why do I love affiliate marketing? It comes down to a few key factors. Firstly — passive income. Affiliate marketing is one of the few true passive income business models out there because you’re the affiliate. You’re not the company, which means you don’t have to create your own products and services, which is truly awesome. Especially when you consider what creating your own product might entail. We’re talking raw materials, warehouses, office space, staff — you get my meaning. So it’s basically very hands-off once you have your website and email server — and any apps you want to assist you in place. Since you’re not the company — you’re only the affiliate — you can focus on marketing and sales for the company’s products.
And that’s just one aspect of the business; you don’t have to worry about managing customers, customer service, dealing with refunds or exchanges. There is none of that headache and hassle. And most people would probably choose rather make money and make a full-time living from selling than having to do the whole production of creating a company. This brings me to another aspect of affiliate marketing that I love — having low overhead. You can invest as little as you want or as much as you want to start this business and then grow (scale) it. Now theoretically, you can actually start affiliate marketing for free.
Having said that, I don’t recommend that you start for $0, because it’s the slowest way to get results. But if you have at least $100-$200, you can do many things. You can create a full website for less than $100. A website will be a key asset in turning your affiliate marketing campaign into an actual business. So with that being said, you can invest that into either creating a website or investing in software. If you want to skip the whole website idea, you could still go to software to create landing pages and sales pages to get you up and running in no time. An exciting new player in that space is GrooveFunnels. They make learning affiliate marketing fun! They have a lifetime-free program that lets you build landing pages instead of a website. As many pages as you want, for different products perhaps. Or, if you want the full suite of options, you should grab the Upgrade plan. It all depends on how you want to get started and the funds that you have available. What I like about them is that they make it easy to get started for free, there is no barrier to getting started with your affiliate marketing business. Most new affiliates start with the free lifetime account and then upgrade after they’ve started making profits. Here is where you can find a comparison of the two plans. They definitely deserve a look, they are dynamic, very informed, and their community is growing every day. They also have fantastic support and a YouTube channel that I follow for instructions, tips, and tricks. Everything is explained very clearly, and from my experience, their mission is clearly all about helping you to succeed.
So, you can spend as little or as much as you want. Because remember — since you’re the affiliate, there are no product expenses. Most people starting in affiliate marketing start with a low budget, and as the sales start to come in will reinvest some or all of their profits to acquiring more software and supporting apps. There is SO much out there in the software developers’ market that can readily assist you in launching and growing your online business. And these options are growing steadily.
So to illustrate: when you sell a product as an Amazon affiliate, you don’t have to go to Amazon and buy the product and then ship it to the customer. Instead, Amazon is the one who has to handle fulfillment. This means that they handle the customer, handle the sales, handle the refunds, and handle the shipping and distribution. You don’t have to worry about any of that. You have just sent them the customer. That’s where your involvement ends. All you have to worry about is people clicking a link to a product on Amazon. And then you are collecting a commission for that. And that’s pretty cool!
This is why I love affiliate marketing; it really is a win-win-win business model. Think about how awesome it is, too, from a company perspective. You’re essentially scouting for more customers and sales for them. So with that being said, let’s move on to the actual step-by-step.
Beginning Steps in Affiliate Marketing
So, the first thing I’ll say before we get into this is that the first three steps, which are choosing a niche, choosing a product, and choosing a platform, will be the most important in this whole process.
Now, I’m going to draw an analogy. Consider that if you were to become a professional athlete, and you got to choose what sport you played and the position, you’ll learn that certain positions get paid more than other positions in other sports. For example, for the ‘big bucks,’ being an NFL quarterback is a great placement. The average NFL quarterback gets paid millions of dollars, and they get these huge contracts. If you were to choose another sport that is not as popular and not as profitable as, let’s say, football or being in the NBA, let’s choose professional figure skating. Nothing against figure skating — I absolutely love it! But the professional figure skater does not even make close to what an average professional NBA player or the average NFL quarterback, or indeed the starting quarterback, is earning. And probably even the bench-warmers at that!
Choosing Your Niche
So with that being said, the most important thing is choosing the right sport and making sure you choose the right position. Because just by choosing the right position and the right sport, you actually separate yourself. You really put yourself in another pay grade when it comes to being a professional athlete because there are levels to this. So, with that being said, the first step is actually choosing a niche. So, what are the most profitable niches? I get this question all the time.
The most profitable niches in affiliate marketing by far are software and digital products. Now, there are also some other profitable niches. In fact, every niche can be theoretically profitable. You can literally do crocheting or pottery as your niche, and it can be profitable. Still, the level of profitability will vary, and I think that software is the highest-paying affiliate product niche in my experience. This is because software companies have lower overhead than a brick-and-mortar or a physical products company. Think of it like this: when you create software one time, it can serve multiple customers, many times over. You create software once, and it can serve two million customers without much cost other than your server costs. But everything is relatively low overhead.
On the other hand, if you had a T-shirt company, you would have to make a new one from scratch every time you made a T-shirt. And you have to pay five, $10 to make the T-shirt, whatever it costs, but you have to pay that every single time you make a T-shirt, it doesn’t replicate. Software replicates very, very, very easily, and it does not add much cost when you add one more new customer. So the software company is allowed to pay huge amounts of money to affiliates because they know that when customers buy software, they usually subscribe to that software. They tend to stay a customer for many months, if not years. Just think of Apple! And their whole suite of products that their customers love.
And that lifetime cost is actually, or the lifetime customer value, is worth hundreds of dollars, so they can pay affiliates on the flip side hundreds of dollars to acquire that customer. Now, what are digital products? There are digital info products that are very popular these days, such as online courses. If some of you aspiring entrepreneurs are in an online course, chances are there is an affiliate program. And the affiliate program probably pays around 30% of a product’s sales. So if you’re selling a course that costs $1,000 as an affiliate, you get a sale, and you get $300 — just like that. It gets better because some of these are monthly recurring, which means, when you get a customer to sign up via your link, you get paid every month that they remain a customer. That is called a ‘rebilling’ commission. With that, you’re getting passive income every single month, and you don’t have to get a new customer. You can stick to the ones you already have. So that’s pretty cool. But of course — we all want new customers too, don’t we?
Choosing Your Product
Now, on to step two, which is choosing a product. So you want to go with a winning product that already has a history in terms of affiliate marketing that other affiliates are succeeding with, and there’s proof of it on the internet. Because this means that that company probably invests into their affiliate program to make sure that they are actually serving affiliates. Because there are companies out there, that really do not care about their affiliates nor their affiliate program. You can see it in the complaints, people not getting paid, there’s maybe problems with the tracking, like let’s say you’re getting a lot of clicks, but you’re not getting any sales, maybe you’re not getting paid on time. These are all issues that you can have as an affiliate.
Luckily, there are companies out there where they have very proven affiliate programs. You can find affiliates who have made tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands of dollars, from a single affiliate company. And that shows you that that affiliate program is excellent. So if you want to do some research, make sure that the affiliate product you’re promoting is not something new, it’s not something that hasn’t been proven before, and that no other affiliate has been successful with. Instead, you want to find products that other affiliates are already promoting and having success with since it’s a lot easier to model success than reinvent the wheel. Make it easier on yourself by modeling others’ success!
Choosing Your Platform
Now, let’s move on to the third step, which is choosing a platform.
You can have a YouTube channel, use it to post your content, build an audience, and engage with that audience and create more content and rinse and repeat. But if you’re camera-shy (like me!), that won’t even be on your radar. Having an email list, that’s creating a platform. You’re using your email list to connect to your customers. Having an Instagram account is another platform. A platform is essentially wherever you and your affiliate offer can be found.
So, what is the best platform to choose? Because you can either have a website, you can have a YouTube channel, you can have an Instagram, or you can actually skip straight to having a landing page. Now, this is a hybrid. A landing page is kind of like having a website but having it be more specific. There are a couple of platforms specifically for affiliate marketing. I have already mentioned GrooveFunnels. Another one is ClickFunnels, which I also like because it has its own in-house training program and an extensive affiliate marketplace with a myriad of offers in multiple categories of hobbies and interests. Like Groovefunnels, they are built to help you get moving. These platforms allow you to make a quick page to start collecting emails or even start getting sales. You can put your affiliate link within your content, post it, and watch the visitors arrive — and, of course, sales — as your email list grows. It is, after all, a numbers game. Some sales may come quickly — but keep your eyes focused long-term on the horizon. The beautiful thing is — you own your email list. And you can re-market to your customers over time, with an array of products that you think they might find appealing. Over time, you will discover what they most like and want and that is another benefit of being able to track buying activity on your list.
So that’s an example, you can funnel traffic from one platform to another to the next. As I mentioned, you can funnel traffic from YouTube or Instagram to your website or landing page, and then to your email list. Do you see that? It’s pretty awesome because now we’re connecting with customers on three different platforms; we’re really getting in front of them and interacting with them and engaging with them. And trust is built over time when you build a rapport with your customers. And you do this by offering value in your content and serving your customers. It has to be all about them and bringing valuable content their way in the process of securing their loyalty. This content is whatever your passion is that you want to share, and this informs your niche.
How to Succeed in Affiliate Marketing
If you can keep that customer-service ethos at the forefront, you should be able to build a tribe, and a profitable business will follow. Websites and landing pages are like online real estate, and they become actual assets that you can even sell later. What’s more — websites are fun! They can spark your creativity, purpose, and fulfillment all at the same time. And this creativity can earn you money. This, for me, was the most valuable lesson of all, and I had to see it to believe it. But I want you to put your faith — and hard work in it. Because that’s what it takes. But as my mom used to say, ‘the time is going to pass anyway, so you might as well do it!’ And just think where you might be six months, or a year from now because you got started today? And as you get to know affiliate marketing better, you can expand exponentially with more and more websites as you scale your business. The possibilities really are endless.
So, there is much to love about affiliate marketing. If you like learning and executing, this could be just the next step for you. From the comfort of your own home, as they say! With more and more customers going online now in light of recent global events — the time to get started has never been better.
I hope I have assisted you in seeing that more clearly in this post.
Until next time,
Let’s make it happen!